Listed in: Neuroscience, as NEUR-214 | Biology, as BIOL-214
Josef G. Trapani or pending
An introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system. This course explores the basic functions of neurons and synapses as well as neural mechanisms of sensation at molecular, cellular, circuit and system levels. Basic topics in neurobiology and neurophysiology will be covered with an emphasis on neuroscience history and understanding how neuroscientists approach the study of the nervous system. Three class hours per week.
Requisite: BIOL-191. Limited to 45 students. Fall semesters.
Moodle site: Course (Login required)
(Offered as BIO 250, CHEM 250, LLAS 250 and SOCI 250) This is an interactive course that combines academic inquiry and community engagement to investigate identity, inequality and representation within Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields--at Amherst and beyond. We begin the course by grounding our understanding of the STEM experience at Amherst in national and global contexts. We will survey the interdisciplinary literature on the ways in which identity - race, gender, class, ability, sexuality- and geographic context shape STEM persistence and belonging. We will bring this literature into conversation with our own Amherst experiences. These challenging conversations require vulnerability, openness and the ability to tolerate discomfort. We will work from day one to build a brave space whose foundation is trust, accountability and growth. Students will design group projects that apply themes from the literature and our seminar discussions to develop resources and engage the STEM community, whether at the college, local, or national level. Course work includes critical reading and discussion, reflective writing, and collaborative work culminating in community engagement projects which students will share with the campus and the broader public. The class will meet synchronously most days for the remote January term and will also involve asynchronous small group work.
Open to sophomores, juniors and seniors. This course will be taught in two sections, each taught by a partnering of a scientist and a humanist/social scientist. Each section will be limited to 18 students due to the remote format and the discussion- and project-based nature of the class.
January Term. Professors Jaswal, Corañez Bolton, Schmalzbauer and Trapani.
Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-260
This course will examine the function of tissues, organs, and organ systems, with an emphasis on the relationship between structure and function. Building outward from the level of the cell, we will study bodily processes including respiration, circulation, digestion and excretion. In addition, the course will address how different organisms regulate these complex processes and how ion and fluid balance is maintained. We will also study the nervous system in the context of sensory systems, focusing on how external stimuli are transformed into meaningful neuronal signals and processed by the brain. Weekly discussions will include readings from primary literature. Four classroom hours per week.
Requisites: BIOL 191 and either BIOL 181 or NEUR 226. Fall or Spring semester. Professor Trapani
Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-351; Neuroscience, as NEUR-351
This course will provide a deeper understanding of the physiological properties of the nervous system. We will address the mechanisms underlying electrical activity in neurons, as well as examine the physiology of synapses; the transduction and integration of sensory information; the function of nerve circuits; the trophic and plastic properties of neurons; and the relationship between neuronal activity and behavior. Laboratories will apply electrophysiological methods to examine neuronal activity and will include experimental design as well as analysis and presentation of collected data. Throughout the course, we will focus on past and current neurophysiology research and how it contributes to the field of neuroscience. Three classroom hours and three hours of laboratory work per week.
Requisites: BIOL 191 and CHEM 151; PHYS 117 or 124 is recommended. Limited to 24 students. Fall semester. Professor Trapani.
Listed in: Biology, as BIOL-450; Neuroscience, as NEUR-450
Concentrating on reading and interpreting primary research, this course will focus on classic and soon-to-be classic neurophysiology papers. We will discuss the seminal experiments performed in the 1950's that led to our understanding of action potentials; experiments in the 1960's and 1970's that unlocked how synapses function; and more recent research that combines electrophysiology with optical methods and genetic techniques to investigate the role of many of the molecular components predicted by the work from the earlier decades. Assignments will include written reviews of literature as well as oral presentations. Meets once for 180 minutes per week
Requisites: PHYS 117 or PHYS 124 and either NEUR 226, BIOL 260, BIOL 351, or consent of the instructor. Limited to 12 students. Fall or Spring semester. Professor Trapani.